Four Years Later, Let’s Gather Again…


Four Years Later, Let’s Gather Again…


Four years ago, November 13th 2016, our sanctuary was more filled than I’ve ever seen it.  People packed in, seeking solace and community, and a way to make sense of and respond to the election of Donald Trump. Many of you who will get this email will remember that day especially because it was the first (or among the first) Sundays you showed up at Foothills, or it was a Sunday you returned after being away a long time.

We call it the Trump-Bump, because the fall of 2016 marked a huge bump in our attendance. And ever since then, I admit to you now, I’ve been imagining we have a sort of four year countdown.  A countdown that marks the time we have to make the case that even when our President is not so overtly dehumanizing, so clearly a threat to democracy, so directly in contradiction to Unitarian Universalist principles – even then, this community of Foothills offers something worth getting up on Sundays for, and is worthy of a commitment and stewardship far beyond any particular election.

When we look back at these four years it’s pretty astounding all we have done – all you have done – to respond to injustice, to care for each other, and to create a community of generosity, hospitality, and hope. From our work as a sanctuary congregation to our Food Bank to our caring network and our small groups to our incredible community-wide response to the pandemic. In my sermon four years ago, I invited us to imagine that we were made for times just like this.  And over these years, you’ve proven me right.

Of course, my countdown assumed that Trump would not be re-elected. If he had been, this would be something of a different message to you. Something, but not entirely different – because in the end, of course, the work continues either way.  The election and the Presidency are – as our series reminds us – moments in a larger movement of love, and justice we are called to serve.

And yet here we are. My countdown’s at zero.  On this day, in this moment, as my Communicator article (out now!) asks: Are We Essential?

We can never take for granted that the answer will be yes. Regardless of any swirling political realities, we have to keep our eye on our religious mission.  We have to keep creating together a community worthy of showing up, keep commiting ourselves to a purpose connected to our highest ideals and our best selves, and keep seeking out a message and a mission deeply relevant to the challenges and the call of courageous love that are playing out in real life and real time, right here and now.

And so four years later, my invitation and my ask of you is to show up with the same urgency now as you did four years ago.  Show up with even greater urgency! Because we know even more now how much is at stake, and how much of a difference we can make for each other, and for our world.

I so wish we could be in person this Sunday as I would love to be in our sanctuary together, remembering how we gathered four years ago, feeling that energy!  The next best thing though is to gather online.  And so I so look forward to seeing you – on Zoom at 9 or on Facebook live at 11 – this Sunday, with a service we call Endgame.

For the long haul,
Rev. Gretchen


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